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Humanism and Philosophy

Social regeneration of residential complexes for senior citizens (completed)

  • Status: completed

This research examined how social vitality can be stimulated in residential complexes for senior citizens, and what role the residents could fulfil towards this goal, and what professional support is required.


Elderly people are expected to continue living independently for longer, which is also what most elderly people personally prefer. This poses a new challenge to housing associations. They need to work with municipal authorities and care providers to ensure a sufficient stock of suitable dwellings where elderly people can live comfortably. Many associations concentrate on the physical and material aspects of housing, while the social aspects of the living environment are just as important for the elderly residents.

It is against this backdrop that Platform31 set up the experiment ‘Vibrant senior communities’. The goal was to acquire more knowledge about social vitality in residential complexes for elderly people. The experiment was conducted in ten residential complexes spread across the Netherlands. 

Researchers Anja Machielse, Pien Bos and Wander van der Vaart of the University of Humanistic Studies evaluated the experiment. They examined the possibilities and the limits of the self-learning capacity of residents in such complexes, and what the conditions are to enable a lively community where people can easily build social contacts.

The research shows that residents feel a need for social contact, a pleasant atmosphere and safety. To optimise the social quality of the living environment, residents do need the support of committed professionals to stimulate, to assist and to permanently embed the community building process. 





Download the research report Vitale woongemeenschappen at the Platform31 website.

See also

Research into social vitality in housing estates for the elderly. How can this be stimulated, what role can residents play in this themselves and what professional support is needed?